Out of Home Care in Tasmania

Out of home care is the system that provides formal care to children and young people who are assessed as unable to live safely at home.

  • Out of Home Care includes:
    • Family Based Care
      • foster care
      • intensive supported foster care
      • kinship care
      • therapeutic care
      • emergency care
      • respite care
    • Salaried Care
      • therapeutic residential care
      • salaried care placements

The out of home care system provides formal care for these children and young people.

The Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1997 provides the framework and mandate for government and non-government services, community members and families to respond to situations, where:

  • children may have experienced abuse or neglect, or
  • where it is considered they may be at risk of suffering harm within their family.

Where the Child Safety Service assesses that a child or young person is at risk in their home, they will seek a court order for short or longer term care. An out of home care arrangement will be made for their day-to-day care. The Secretary of the Department for Education, Children and Young People then becomes responsible for the care and protection of those children and young people under their custody and guardianship.

Out of Home Care Standards

The Tasmanian Out of Home Care (OOHC) Standards are an important step towards developing a Tasmanian OOHC Accreditation Framework and Carers Register, which will help to safeguard children and young people in OOHC.

Read more about the OOHC Standards.

Wellbeing in Out of Home Care

  • We are committed to enhancing the wellbeing of children who have entered the Out of Home Care system.
  • We are focussed on resolving worries children may have about their wellbeing in care.
  • We are doing this through a process that is inclusive, transparent and relational.

The Wellbeing in Care process outlines how we respond to worries and concerns about children and young people in Out of Home Care to create physical, psychological and emotional safety for everyone.

The process includes priority decision-making and protective action where the allegations are of a serious or criminal nature.

  • Sometimes children need to move to another care placement to ensure their immediate safety while a Wellbeing in Care process is occurring. 
  • Criminal allegations, including sexual or serious physical assault, are referred to police.

A suite of documents has been developed to guide the process for assessing worries or concerns about wellbeing in care. This includes a procedure, practice advice, Information Sheet, Out of Home Care Code of Conduct and several templates. The Wellbeing in Care process was previously referred to as a Care Concerns. The current process has been developed to reflect the Tasmanian Out of Home Care standards.

The Out of Home Care Child Safe Code of Conduct applies to volunteers (foster and kinship carers) and external staff from salaried care providers. This is an interim code which will remain in place until a broader Code is developed for the department. This will be developed to reflect the National Child Safe Standards and Child and Youth Safe Organisations Framework for Tasmania.

The Wellbeing in Care Policy Position outlines the department’s position on responding to wellbeing concerns.

An information sheet on Wellbeing in Care Concerns is available for carers and service providers and can be viewed here.

Out of Home Care Services

Children and young people are at the centre of the out of home care system which provides a range of care and accommodation services.

Family Based Care

Family Based Care gives children and young people a place to live in a family home when they are unable to live with their own families. Family Based Care includes foster care and kinship care.

Family based care provides children with a family who can care for them for as long as needed until they can return to their natural families or until they exit care as young adults. Read more about Family Based Care.

Salaried Care

Salaried Care includes Therapeutic Residential Care and Salaried Care.

Therapeutic Residential Care

Therapeutic residential care is group-based accommodation and support to older children and young people who have high or challenging needs and where foster or kinship care is not available or appropriate. It is provided by CatholicCare Tasmania. Young people in Residential Care are often supported to learn the skills they need to live independently as they transition to becoming young adults in their own homes.

Salaried Care

Salaried care is provided by non-government organisations for children and young people with complex needs that for a short or longer period can make it too challenging for them to live in a family home with foster or kinship carers. Salaried Care is in a home setting with care provided by staff on a rostered basis.

Therapeutic interventions are provided to children and young people in care who have experienced trauma. The Australian Childhood Foundation provides this service and also provides training and supports to carers and staff.

Child Advocate

The Child Advocate provides a voice to children in out of home care regarding the quality of and decisions made about their care. Visit the Child Advocate section of the website for more information on the role.